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4.3 out of 5 stars
My Side of the Mountain (Puffin Modern Classics)
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217 of 222 people found the following review helpful
on March 1, 2002
Format: Paperback
OK, I'm 42, and here's my book report.
I read this book the first time back in about 1968. I can still remember dreaming about holing up in a tree house on a mountain somewhere while a great blizzard decends, the wind howling through the tree limbs. And surviving off the wilderness, trapping deer and fishing, hiding out from grownups. It was a tremendous adventure that has stayed with me through the years.
I recently bought this book for my 8-year old boy, but he's still pouring through the Harry Potter series (again), so I re-read it. It's still tremendous after all these years--the adventure every boy dreams of. It's a story of total independence and making it on your own, and the hero is as brave and resourcefull as I dreamed I would be if it were me on that mountain. The book is as entertaining today as it was back then. I know my boy will love it. It's magic without witchcraft.
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165 of 181 people found the following review helpful
on April 26, 2000
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
I am 10 years old and have just read this book for my monthlybook report. I am a big fan of this book, My Side Of The Mountain. Theauthor of this book is Jean Craighead George. The main characters ofthe book are Sam Gribley, Frightful , and The Baron Weasel. Sam Gribley is a boy 15 years old who ran away from home to live on the Catskill Mountains. He ran away from home because there were11 poeple in his family, 4 brothers, 4 sisters and 2 adults plus Sam. Frightful is Sam's falcon, he took her from her nest when she was a baby and raised her. He also had a friend named The Baron Weasel who he caught in his trap.
My favorite chapter in the book is when Sam found Frightful a falcon so that he wouldn't get lonely. My second favorite chapter is When The City Comes To Me. And it is when his family comes to visit Sam. His Mom wants him to live in the barn until he is 16 but he doesn't want to.
The chapter that I liked the least was I Cooperate With The Ending. I found this chapter to be sad because I was really interested in the book and I didn't want it to end.
When my Aunt was in grade school she recommended this book to my Dad who was also in grade school. My Dad recommened this book to me and gave it to me for Christmas. When my brother is old enough I will recommended this book to him. The reason why I would recommended it to my brother or anyone is because it is a good book, full of adventure and excitement and I really enjoyed it. This book made me feel like I was in the story as one of the characters.
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51 of 57 people found the following review helpful
on February 25, 2004
Format: Paperback
Dare I admit how many years ago I was but a girl, nose buried in this book? Decades, oh, decades ago. Yet even now it stands out as one of the beacon lights of my childhood, leading me to an adulthood that focuses around a love of wilderness.
When young Sam ran away from home (and this is something I routinely did as a girl, tying red bandana to a stick containing crackers, kitchen knife, and toothbrush, and rather long to do again, now as I spend too many of my days in an office) and headed into the Catskill Mountains, my heart went with him. No dream house could match the home he created inside the hollow of a big tree. No gourmet dinner could match the wilderness fare Sam put together, smacking his lips. No pet could match that fine falcon.
Jean Craighead George was then, and is now, at the top of the list of my favorite authors in children's and young adult literature. My own children are grown now, but as they grew, I read George's books to them, giving them not only a taste of fine writing, but also an education in science and wilderness survival, along with a healthy respect for environmental issues. George may write fiction, but her stories are all based on sound scientific data. How Sam survived on the mountain is based on good science. That he uses determination, intelligence, and discipline in living this way is good character. And that's something our kids don't see or read about nearly often enough today.
Highly recommended.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on April 17, 2002
Format: Paperback
This book, My Side of the Mountain, by Jean Craighead George is a great book. The main character, Sam Gribley, runs away from his New York City apartment one day to seek a new and independent life. Sam chooses to live in the Catskill Mountain because his Grandfather once owned a farm there. While Sam is there, he meets many friends. Some of his new friends are people, and some are animals. Sam's best friend and helper is a falcon he calls Frightful. Sam also shows lots of courage and tolerance in this book. Sam was very courageous during the blizzard that hit the mountain. Sam shows tolerance because he eats things he's never eaten before such as rabbit, crayfish, and vension. This is a great book and anyone who likes adventure should read it.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on June 4, 2002
Format: Paperback
Sam Gribly is sick of New York with all his little brothers and sisters running around, so he decides to run away into the Catskill Mountains. He brings [price], some string/cord, an ax, some flint and steel and a penknife. He has to find/catch his own meals. These are a few of the meals he had: venison (deer), turtle soup, smoked rabbit and dried apples. He decides that finding food is a hard task and wishes he could have help with hunting, so he sets off to find the best kind of hunter that he can think of (that is tame-able) a duck-hawk. He finds a baby duck-hawk, trains it to his arm and teaches it how to hunt.
He meets a man he calls Bando, and they become friends. Sam has many adventures, and meets many animals and people such as a weasel, he calls "the Baron weasel."
My favorite character was the Baron Weasel because he was unpredictable. An example of this is when he came up to Sam and bit him.
I would recommend this book because it is fun and adventurous. An example of how it was fun is when Sam met a music teacher named Aaron, who was out hiking. Sam started singing some pretty weird songs to Aaron, such as "The Cold Water" song and the "Hi-Chickadee" song. It was adventurous when Sam took a baby duck-hawk and trained it. I think it took courage and bravery to go live in the wilderness alone, without the comforts of home.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on April 18, 2007
Format: Paperback
The book I read was My Side of the Mountain. Jean Craighead George is the author. My Side of the Mountain is about a teenager who is sick of living in the city. He lives in an apartment with his family in New York City but is unhappy there, so he runs away to the Catskill Mountains where his grandfather has some property. He tries to survive against the brutal winter and ice covered trees, hunters during the deer season, and tries not to be seen by hikers and campers. The setting in the book is in the 1960's or 70's and takes place in New York. The main character in the story is named Sam Gribley. Sam is adventurous and does not like to be kept inside. He can make tools out of stuff you can find in the woods. He is also very brave and courageous for going and staying in the woods alone.

This book is realistic fiction. The moral of the story is if you want something, do something about it. I highly recommend this book for others because it is great how the author explains everything. Sam makes different tools out of twigs and grass and the author explains every detail. The book is also very adventurous and exciting. If you want a book where you hate to stop reading, then this is a great book!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on April 12, 2002
Format: Paperback
In Jean George's My Side of the Mountain series, she develops a character who works hard, has adventures, and is loving and caring. The books in the series are: My Side of the Mountain, On the Far Side of the Mountain, and Frightful's Mountain. The main character, Sam, is a young boy who ran away from his New Your city home to his great-grandfather's farm called the "Gribley's Farm." He lived off the land, and built himself a home, by burning out a hemlock tree. Nobody thought he could do it. These people were in for a surprise. As years go by Sam makes friends, while he works hard, and having adventures.
In the book, My Side of the Mountain, when Sam was at home in New York he went to school, and lived in a small house. He was tired of New York City life and so he decided to run away to his great-grandfather's abandoned farm in the Catskill Mountains. On the way to the farm, he stopped to ask directions at a library. There he met Ms. Turner, the librarian. After a bit of searching she found a map. She gave him the map, wished him well, and he was on his way back to his adventure. When Sam arrived to the farm, he was hungry. After a while, he put himself to work on hollowing out a tree for a home. After building his home, he made household appliances such as a stove. One day, Sam met an old woman named Mrs. Strawberry who thought he lived in Delhi. They walked down the mountain until suddenly, Sam decided to go the library. There he read books on hawks and falcons. After he thought he had learned enough he left the library. On his way back up the mountain, he headed towards the cliffs. When he arrived there he saw a falcon's nest. He wanted a falcon so badly he started to climb up the cliff. When he came down his shoulder was hurt, and in his hands, he had a baby falcon, who he named Frightful. As he walked back to Gribley farm, he watched the little eyas, and fell in love. After many years of love and comfort, what happened?
In the second book of the series, On the Far Side of the Mountain, Sam now took care of his little sister Alice. His parents found him and decided to stay, but when they found the land was impossible to farm they were going to leave. The whole family was going to leave even Sam, but Sam had other ideas and so did his sister Alice. Therefore, his little sister Alice asked if she could stay with Sam and their parents thought about it and said yes. After a half a year Sam's bird, Frightful was "confiscated" by a conservation officer because it was an endangered species. After a great sadness, he decided to take a walk. When he came back, Alice was gone. Because he loved Alice so much, he followed her. On his adventure to find her, he discovered poachers had stolen Frightful from him. Did he ever find Frightful and did her ever catch up to Alice?
In the third book of the series, Frightful's Mountain, Frightful found a mate and had eyases in a nest on a bridge. After a while, construction workers started to repair the bridge. As their bulldozers raised a ruckus, Sam comforted Frightful. When conservation officers saw the problem, they tried to help. After their attempt failed, they tried to get the workers to stop. When the poachers saw the opportunity, they dressed up as Fish and Wildlife Officers. They told the workers they were there to save the eyases so the workers helped them. When the falcon "conservation officers" thought were all the eyases were down, they drove off. However, one of the eyases was still there, so Frightful stayed. When Sam saw this, he moved Frightful's eyas, and Frightful followed. When he found out poachers had taken two of the eyases he set out to find them. Did he ever find the eyases and did Frightful ever see them again?
I am sure you will like this unpredictable series. Jean George's ability to imagine makes the story intriguing. This makes for a great series.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on April 13, 2002
Format: Paperback
I can recall my fourth grade teacher reading this book to our class. We all loved it! I was especially drawn to the idea of a boy running away from home and the family that didn't understand to live in the mountains of upstate New York. He hollows out a large tree and makes a house out of it, with a deerskin for a door. Now, as an elementary education major, we read a lot of children's literature and do the same projects we would have our students do. I was just as excited to revisit this classic at 21 as I was at 11.
Sam Gribley moves out to the country to live off the land. He has ideals and is a true naturist. However, he cannot escape being noticed. He gets lonely and befriends badgers, raccoons and even a baby falcon that he trains to catch food for him. An occasional run-in with humans is inevitable though. There comes a point when Sam is unable to live alone anymore and begins to crave human attention once again.
This is a good book about survival in the woods, and the pressures that every young-adolescent will go through. The discussion starter questions are endless. The big drawback for me was the ending, which I will not reveal you to now. Still, it is worth reading even though you may be a let down in the last 2 pages.
Why 4 stars?: While I do feel it is a good book that deserves a place in every intermediate classroom library, there are a few drawbacks. The book is a little bit dated and the end is frustrating. However, it is entertaining and appeals to the sense of adventure and mischief that is found in all of us.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on June 6, 2005
Format: Paperback
My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George is about a 14 year-old boy (Sam Gribley) who runs away from his enormous family (one of eleven siblings) in New York City in 1959 seeking privacy. Sam hitches a ride to his great -grandfather's land in the Catskill Mountains where he sets up a "hemlock" type structure in a fallen hollow tree. Sam then uses conventional fishing methods as food for his first few weeks. As he learns the "way of the forest", Sam begins to take advantage of what the wilderness has to offer. For instance, he makes flour out of acorns and dinnerware out of empty turtle shells. As Sam continues making new observations and friends ("Jessie S. James" . . . a badger and "Frightful" . . . a falcon), he also becomes regular friends with two people, Aaron and Bando, who often visit Sam in his secluded mountain. As time passes, Sam's parents find out about Sam's location in the forest. Around Christmastime, Sam's dad visits him. He is quite impressed with Sam's hemlock, diet, and his interactions with the surrounding wildlife. Sam's father leaves within a few days, satisfied with Sam's condition. As hunters begin to raid the area for deer hunting season, many hunters report seeing a "wild boy dressed in deerskin from head to toe". Suspicions of a wild boy continue, until one reporter tracks down Sam. After a year of living in the mountains, Sam is cajoled to tell the truth about the fourteenth year of his life to both his family and the public.

One positive aspect of character development is at the beginning of the novel, Jean portrays Sam as a scared and hopeless boy. But by the end of the book, we see Sam as fearless and wise. Secondly, the main reason why Sam left his family was to search for privacy. However, by the end of the story, he realizes that there is no full privacy to be found in New York State. The reason why this story did not receive 1st Place is one flaw in the character's development of Sam. Although this novel has been used as a wilderness reference guide, Jean Craighead George does not adequately indicate how Sam, a 14 year-old city boy, obtains such outdoor skills. For example, once Sam killed a deer, page 65 states, "The rest of June was spent smoking it, tanning it, and finally, starting on my deerskin suit." How does Sam know how to do these things? The book only addresses this issue as Sam using his "ingenuity".
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17 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on November 11, 1999
Format: Paperback
I just re-read this book for the first time since childhood as a project for a Children's Literature class and the things that made me love this book as a child came leaping off the pages to meet me. George inserts visual and humorous quirks into the animals who share Sam's home with him, without injecting them with the unrealistic ability to speak. These animals speak volumes in their actions and habits.
This book does contain some curious themes for children, such as a boy running away from home, several adult characters who know that Sam has run away but just decide to help him hide, and a father who comes to see his son just before the onset of winter in the Catskills, but doesn't force him to come home with him.
However, George's intricate details (recipes, drawings, etc..) and varying narration (slipping between diary form to storytelling) add a realism that can't help but spark the imagination and feed that part of a little boy's soul that yearns for independence and self-sufficience.
A great book for children who don't necessarily like to read. What's cooler than a falcon for a pet? Nothing.
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